Third Graders Reenact 1939 Civil Rights Protest | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Filed Under:

Third Graders Reenact 1939 Civil Rights Protest

Play associated audio

History buffs in Alexandria like to call the 1939 Library Sit-in "the most famous civil rights protest you've never heard of."

But thanks to a history lesson delivered by third graders from Samuel W. Tucker Elementary all of that is starting to change.

The students performed in front of a standing room only crowd at the Barrett Branch Library, where the protest occurred 70 years ago.

The crowd included relatives of the five African-American men jailed that day in 1939. The charges against those men were eventually dropped -- and the episode helped lead to the construction of a library for blacks.

Also watching this morning was 91-year old Ferdinand T. Day, former chair of Alexandria's Board of Education and the first African-American public school board chair in the state.

He grew up with all five men who took part in the 1939 sit-in, as well as the man who organized the protest, Samuel W. Tucker.

Day says the performance was a reminder that Alexandria wasn't always as friendly as it is now.

"A lot of people come to my hometown and think that it was like this years ago, but they are far wrong," Day says. "It was a typical Southern port town, with all the problems of the deep South."

Day says watching black and white 8-year-olds come together to share what they've learned makes him proud of what his hometown has become.

It's a feeling that may not have been possible without five men who walked through the library doors in 1939.

Jonathan Wilson reports...

NPR

Message From Documentary 'Citizenfour': Be Afraid (Of Surveillance)

Ken Turan reviews the documentary Citizenfour from filmmaker Laura Poitras about Edward Snowden and his decision to leak information about the National Security Agency's surveillance activities.
NPR

A Wisecracking Biochemist Shares Her Kitchen ABCs

Shirley Corriher, author of Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking, has tips on taking the bitter bite out of coffee, and holding onto cabbage's red hue while it's in the pan.
NPR

With Biden By His Side, Maine Democrat Mines For Blue-Collar Vote

Embattled Democrat Rep. Rick Nolan, who represents Minnesota's Iron Range, gets a campaign visit from the administration's blue-collar vote whisperer, Joe Biden.
NPR

Calling 911 On Your Cell? It's Harder To Find You Than You Think

If you call 911 from inside a tall building, emergency responders may have difficulty finding you. Cellphone GPS technology currently doesn't work well indoors — but the FCC hopes to change that.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.